May 8th, 2024 by James Goudie KC

DAVIES v BRIDGEND COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL ( 2024 ) UKSC 15 concerns liability for private nuisance by undue interference with the enjoyment or use of another person’s land. The nuisance arose from the encroachment of JAPANESE KNOTWEED. The dates are important. Mr Davies bought his land in 2004. By then the knotweed had spread on to that land from land owned by the Council. That however was not at that time an actionable nuisance. That did not occur until 2013. That was when the Council became aware, or ought to have become aware, of the risk of damage to Mr Davies’ land. Information became available about knotweed. The Council’s fault was that between 2013 and 2018 it failed to implement a reasonable and effective treatment programme. That was not done until 2018. The question was whether the Council was liable for diminution in the value of Mr Davies’ land during that period. The Supreme Court, allowing the Council’s appeal from ( 2023 ) EWCA Civ 80, ruled that the Council had no damages liability. This was on the basis of lack of causation. The Council’s breach of duty between 2013 and 2018 had not increased or materially contributed to the diminution in value. That had occurred before any breach by the Council arose in 2013. The subsequent breach was not a causative factor. There was no causal link between the breach of duty and the diminution in value claimed.

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